Now that summer has come to a close, St. Charles Patch is searching for the best burger in the city.
The recent review of sets a high bar for burgers in St. Charles. However, there are some other worthwhile contenders. Throughout the next few weeks, we’re visiting the best burger joints in the city to see how their offerings stack up.
The second skirmish in our burger battle took place at
Loco's is a medium-sized freestanding restaurant not too far from the New Town development. The decor has a sort of generic inoffensiveness that says they're trying to appeal to everyone without risking offending anyone by showing too much personality. Brown booths line beige walls which are dotted with colorful framed art that looks like it came from Bed Bath and Beyond. This isn’t the kind of crazy look I’d expect from a place with a name like Loco’s.
However, Loco’s creative burger offerings made it a good follow-up to . While the menu at Loco’s is more diverse, it’s another restaurant proudly specializing in upscale, interesting burgers.
In addition to burgers, you can pick up the predictable batch of bar appetizers (toasted ravioli, potato skins, chicken fingers), a salad for the healthier crowd, or a variety of sandwiches, but it’d be hard for a red meat lover to be tempted away from their creative burger offerings.
Locos offers nine specialty burgers for around $9 each, all fully customizable.
The El Dorado burger is a rendition of the increasingly popular breakfast on a bun with a fried egg, bacon, cheese, and in this case onion rings to add a little crunch and salt. The Black and Bleu comes with bleu cheese, onion rings, and cajun bistro sauce. Keeping it interesting, they mix the beef for their Chorizo Burger with actual chorizo sausage then top it with pico de gallo, roasted red pepper sauce and spicy chipolte sauce.
In the spirit of letting each restaurant really show off, I chose the spicy Thai burger which came topped with a hosin and soy sauce glaze, asian slaw, and roasted red pepper sauce.
The impressively sized bun was home to a 1/3 pound relatively generic hamburger patty. This wasn't the supremely moist hand rolled offering of JJ's or the sizzling crispy edged texture of Smashburger. It was the same kind of patty you'll find in the meat section of Dierberg's.
The burger was coated in a sticky, sweet and salty combination of hosin and soy sauces to give it an Asian flair. The nicely sweet and tangy vinegar based coleslaw topping gave it the wonderful crunch contrast lettuce so frequently fails to deliver.
They topped it with just the right amount - enough to give the burger texture without making it sloppy. I couldn't taste any evidence of the roasted red pepper sauce in the description, which was a darn shame. I'm assuming the kitchen was in a hurry and forgot to add it.
At first, the light kaiser bun seemed oversized for the hamburger patty, but after i picked it up, I realized I could pinch the excess bread at the back closed to keep the toppings from falling out. With so many wet, potentially sloppy burger options on the menu, that was a nice touch. It held up well. I never felt like I had to rush to eat my burger before the whole thing fell into a wet mess in my hands.
I loved my side order of onion rings. These were hand battered with a flakey, crunchy coating that tasted nicely of black pepper. The rings retained a little bit of grease, but not enough to leave my hands messy. Best of all, they actually tasted like onions instead of tasting like breading. These are meant to be a side. They aren’t the high batter-to-onion ratio rings designed to be an absorbent sandwich topping.
Locos deserves credit for lightning fast service. I showed up at 12:15 p.m. during a busy lunch rush. They had me well fed and out the door in half an hour with my drink refilled twice. Regulars who know what they want before they sit down can probably shave another five minutes off that time.
If you want an affordable, sit down lunch for about what you'd pay at St. Louis Bread Company, give Loco's a try. I saw plenty of parties taking their time. They don't rush you out the door here, but if you’re in a hurry, they also don’t make you wait.
My burger, onion rings, and iced tea came to $13.33 plus a $3 tip for lightning fast, friendly service.
I wanted to like them more. The creativity shown in assembling the burger toppings was great. However, the actual hamburger patty itself didn’t hold up to the standards of either JJ’s or Smashburger. It wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t exceptional. On the other hand, they offered some great options I haven’t seen anywhere in town. Balancing those two earns them a B, but the friendly, super fast service bumps them up to a B+.
Burger Battle Contenders:
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